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It is hoped that rain will bring a welcome relief from the extreme heat and from the threat of more bushfires. Our wildlife have so much to contend with in their struggle for survival. Wildlife habitat is disappearing fast and the Sunshine Coast is fast becoming a landscape of houseblocks. Even in Yandina I cannot believe that citizens have to fight to retain some bushland in an ever increasing sprawl of housing developments.

Right: Photo of a very sad short-eared brushtail possum, also known as bobuck, which was found near the bushfires of Coolum. It is possible that he was dislodged from Mums back while she was escaping the area.

It is a wonder that our major Australian capitals ever managed to retain vegetated areas within the city. Their decision makers must have had foresight and seen that there are more important issues than just raking in the dollars from ratepayers. Today the aim seems to be a sea of rooftops. Connecting areas of bushland are non-existent or ill-planned. Why does every development have to become an instant moonscape?

The amount of habitat destroyed in the bushfires outside Coolum was just devastating. WILVOs are very grateful for the many offers of help from members of the public to help with transport or in any way possible. This support is much appreciated. Unfortunately, in fast burning fires there is a great loss of wildlife. The damage done continues for weeks and months to come. After the fire is forgotten, the native animals are still struggling. They can present as severely dehydrated or injured in the weeks after the initial fire. Of course with the vegetation gone, those that do escape then face starvation.

Backyard trees, shrubs and grasses provide a source of food for wildlife but provide new dangers. As the hungry wildlife come into our gardens they have to face another threat, our domestic animals. It is extremely important now, more than ever, to keep cats in a cat aviary and dogs contained. The loss of so many native animals is just tragic and heartbreaking. We do not want to exacerbate the situation.

I have just been told that Julie Penlington of 4Paws Animal Rescue Inc received the Sunshine Coast Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award. Congratulations Julie! This is a very well-deserved award. Julie does wonderful work in the community, both with domestic animals and with people who need help. WILVOs send their well wishes and their sincere thanks for all you do. Working with animals on a daily basis is so rewarding but there are those days that are just heart wrenching. Julie’s founding of 4Paws has helped so many animals that otherwise would be without hope or a future.